Kona Coffee Cultural Festival kicks off Nov. 9

  • Tatiana Macomber is crowned 2018 Miss Kona Coffee at the Miss Kona Coffee Scholarship Pageant. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • A Kona Daifukuji Taiko Drummer performs on the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Lantern Parade route in 2017. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival 2017 Lantern Parade on Alii Drive. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival celebrates its 48th year with 10 days of events getting underway Nov. 9.

Recognized as the oldest food festival in Hawaii, the festival works to promote Hawaii’s unique culture and diversity and to preserve, perpetuate and promote Kona’s unique coffee heritage.


Coffee first arrived in Hawaii in 1813 when Don Paulo Marin, a Spanish physician, first planted trees in Honolulu, though he had no success. In 1825-26, a small field of coffee was planted successfully in Manoa Valley on Oahu and in 1828 Rev. Samuel Ruggles brought cuttings from Oahu to Napoopoo. By 1841, coffee plantations were established in Kona.

Today, there are about 650 farms cultivating coffee in Kona, with typical farms averaging 3 acres, according to the festival.

The following list highlights some events of the festival, which runs Nov. 9 through Nov. 18. For a full listing of events, including farm tours, visit www.konacoffeefest.com. A festival button is required for most events, some of which have additional fees.

• The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Lantern Parade in Kailua Village is from 6-9 p.m. Nov. 9. This year, the parade celebrates the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first group of Japanese immigrants to Hawaii.

• 100% Pure Kona Coffee Half Marathon at Coconut Grove Marketplace runs from 6:30 to 10 a.m. Nov. 10. The marathon route heads south on Alii Drive from Coconut Grove Marketplace to End of the World in Keauhou.

• UCC Hawaii Miss Kona Coffee Scholarship Pageant gets underway at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 10 at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel. In this event, contestants compete for the coveted Miss Kona Coffee and Miss Aloha Hawaii titles.

• KTA Super Stores Kona Coffee Recipe Contest will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 11 at Hawaii Community College — Palamanui.

• Hiromitsu Kagawa will offer an intercultural concert from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Makaeo Events Pavilion in Kailua-Kona.

• The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Cupping Finals will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 15 at the Makaeo Events Pavilion in Kailua-Kona.

• Talented folks take the stage from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Nov. 16 at Aloha Theatre. The event features spirited, multi-cultural musical and dance performances.


• Adult and youth artwork celebrating Kona coffee culture will be on display for the annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Art Exhibit. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Donkey Mill Art Center on Nov. 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16 and 17.

• The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Hoolaulea takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 17 at Makaeo Events Pavilion in Kailua-Kona.